Compared to 2004 and 2006 vintages, 2005 gives an even more generous and supple fruit(sweet, dark cherries and blackcurrants). 2005 vintage comes from an ideal year for Barossa style Cabernet; 2004 is from a remarkably cool vintage and Elderton has to battle that. As a result, 2004 Cabernet shows efforts in striking a right balance between herbal notes and sweet blackberry fruit and 2005 is almost effortless in expressing Cabernet fruit and terroir. While 2004 has plenty of cedary, vanilla-laden aromas burst from the glass, 2005 is even more balanced, more so than the oakier 2006 by crisp cassis flavours that turn chocolaty on the finish.
All three vintages 2004, 2005 and 2006 pick up the similar tertiary profile of mild anise, a hint of tobacco and mocha. All finish well with a functional structure of ample and soft tannins, mineral lift and length. 2004 is, in our views, slightly better than in 2006, whereas 2005 is most agreeable by now.
2005 Elderton "Ashmead" Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon scored 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, who writes:
The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Ashmead is sourced from 70-year-old vines yielding a microscopic 0.5 tons per acre. The wine aged for 18 months in 100% new French hogsheads (300-litre barrels). Purple in colour, this sensational Cabernet has a splendid nose of pain grille, graphite, leather, black currant, and blackberry liqueur. Full-bodied and voluptuous with hidden tannins, this beautifully balanced wine will develop with 8-10 years in the cellar and drink well through 2035. (JM) (10/2007)
More information about the vineyard.
The Elderton Ashmead land has consistently produced small parcels of excellent quality fruit. These two cabernet blocks are believed to be housing the oldest plantings anywhere in the world, certainly older than most in the Napa Valley and Bordeaux.
In 1997 the family, we were told, sat down to discuss the viability of these 2 Cabernet block planted in 1944, as it was questionable at best. However, the saving grace was merely the pure brilliance of the fruit. It was, and is, always the standout Cabernet block on the property. The decision was therefore taken to reward the excellence of the single sites from the 1998 vintage, with a single vineyard release, named the 'Ashmead'( a kind of bee as far as we know). The concept was, and still is, to take all time and cost pressures out of winemaking. The Ashmead family wanted to show the world that Australia, the Barossa and certainly Elderton, can produce a world-renowned and distinguished Cabernet Sauvignon.
Yields are always naturally low; still less than a tonne an acre, and more often as low as half a tonne per acre. Vine spacing is 1.5 m with row width 3m East to West Row direction points to higher time and cost investments which made better fruit possible; double trellising for more a riper Cabernet Sauvignon; alluvial terra rosa type limestone suggests lots of terroir characters. The Cabernet Sauvignon Ashmead is a single vineyard selection aged for 18 months in new French 300-litre barrels (aka hogsheads)-a mix of new French Oak Hogsheads from about eight different coopers-for even more spectrum tastes.